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Category Archives: Films

Related to a film, DVD, VHS, etc.

Paul McCartney Archive Collection’s long-awaited 2014 remasters – Venus And Mars & Speed Of Sound out in September

After a “false alarm” earlier in the year about a June 2014 release of the next two Paul McCartney Archive Collection releases – the goods are finally coming to those of us that have waited. The 2014 remastered 1975 album by Paul McCartney & Wings Venus and Mars and it’s 1976 follow-up album Wings At The Speed Of Sound will both be released in a grandiose repackaging with plenty of bonus features on September 23rd in North America and September 22nd everywhere else.

Similar to the previous Archive Collection issues both albums will be available in a 2-CD standard edition with the original albums on on disc and bonus material on the second disc. Then there is the 3-disc deluxe version which adds a DVD, hardback book (128 pages for V&M, 112 pages for SoS) of photos and new interviews from Paul McCartney and additional info about each track that is over and above what was originally available on earlier releases of either album. Finally there is download access to 24-bit digital audio files with the deluxe edition. There are also vinyl and digital-only options.

 

Venus And Mars

Venus And Mars cover art (click to enlarge)

Wings At The Speed Of Sound

Wings At The Speed Of Sound cover art (click to enlarge)

 

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A few notes concerning the new 2014 Criterion Collection edition of A Hard Day’s Night

In celebration of it’s 50th Anniversary, the new Criterion Collection re-issue of The Beatles first movie A Hard Day’s Night has now been issued on Blu-Ray and DVD. Released on June 24, 2014 the deluxe edition includes an 80 page book with plenty of photo stills from the film and others from the shooting. Unlike the actual film, some of the photos are in color including the ‘bit in the field’ (baseball diamond sequence used with “Can’t Buy Me Love”). The book also includes a long account on the making of the film by it’s director, Richard Lester, as well as an opening discussion about the film by Film Comment contributor Howard Hampton.

I realize most reading have seen the movie already but for those that haven’t let me just say it’s a zany ninety-minute account of a day in the life of The Beatles in 1964 – with chase scenes from screaming teenage girls, studio performances, press conferences, a mini-concert and even a train ride where, while en route to a show, The Beatles have to care for Paul McCartney’s “mixer” grandfather (played by Wilfred Brambell) who nearly succeeds in influencing Ringo Starr to leave the group. It’s a lot of fun and, of course, the music is great (including the film’s title song, “I Should Have Known Better,” “If I Fell,” “And I Love Her,” “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “She Loves You,” “Tell Me Why” and a few more selections).

 

A Hard Day's Night Criterion Collection 2014 edition

A Hard Day’s Night Criterion Collection 2014 edition

 

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Beatles Rarity of the Week – “Come And Get It” (true stereo demo, 1969)

Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week. In late winter/early spring 1969 Ringo Starr along with Peter Sellers, Raquel Welch and John Cleese were busy on the set of the British comedy film The Magic Christian. Ringo had decided to further his acting career by starring in his second non-Beatles movie. By June, it was announced that the music for the film would be written by John Sebastian who was now solo, having quit The Lovin’ Spoonful the previous year. Somewhere along the line, however, this plan for the music fell through the cracks and other arrangements ended up being made.

 

The Beatles in 1969

The Beatles in 1969

 

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New Releases for June 2014 – a status update

Update: The Venus And Mars and Wings At The Speed Of Sound remasters will be released on September 23rd 2014 in North America and September 22nd 2014 everywhere else. More details here.

First of all, the item that I have been getting questioned about the most – Back in March (2014) it was announced here that the next albums in line for the Paul McCartney Archive Collection treatment (Venus And Mars & Wings At The Speed Of Sound) would be released on June 17th. While no official announcement has come down, it would appear that these releases are delayed, given that we’re down to a week and a half away and there has been no promotional coverage or pre-order opportunities anywhere. I will keep abreast of what the latest is and post it here when I know more.

 

Venus And Mars

Venus And Mars cover art (click to enlarge)

Wings At The Speed Of Sound

Wings At The Speed Of Sound cover art (click to enlarge)

 

Now for the good news – The new 3-disc dual format (DVD & BluRay) remaster of A Hard Day’s Night will be out on June 24th. The 1964 Beatles debut movie has been given a brand new 4K digital film restoration that includes either the mono soundtrack (originally heard in the theaters in 1964) or a new 5.1 surround mix made by Apple. There are plenty of bonus features including (but not limited to) a deleted scene, the making of 1994 documentary You Can’t Do That (previously issued), an interview with Mark Lewisohn, audio commentary, etc. The package contains one BluRay disc and two DVDs with all content available in both formats. For more info or to purchase/pre-order through Amazon, click here.

 

A Hard Day's Night, 2014 (Criterion Collection) 3-disc (BluRay/DVD) remaster

A Hard Day’s Night, 2014 (Criterion Collection) 3-disc (BluRay/DVD) remaster

 


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#askNat – concerning orchestrations from the Help! soundtrack

This week on #askNat I’m bringing up an inquiry from Leo McMichael of Blackwood, NJ concerning the instrumental tracks on the U.S. Help! soundtrack. Leo points out that several of the instrumentals heard in the actual film are not included on the soundtrack. Among others, these include Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Beethoven’s 9th Symphony “Ode To Joy” and playing over the credits, Gioachino Rossini’s “Barber of Seville.” The score music that is included on the soundtrack LP is credited to the Ken Thorne Orchestra and Leo wants to know if the other tracks heard in the film but not on the album are also Ken Thorne recordings made specifically for Help! or, if not, where would we go to find them.

 

Capitol Records 1965 US soundtrack edition of Help!

Capitol Records 1965 US soundtrack edition of Help!

 

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#askNat – concerning Harry Nilsson and The Beatles

Hello to everyone and though I’m not sure when you’ll be reading this, I welcome you anyway to the first #askNat for 2014 and hope you’ve had a Happy New Year! The question I’m addressing this week comes from Curtis Honeycutt of Indianapolis. Back in 2012, Curtis had sent in a previous question concerning a short session for Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats album in 1974, when John Lennon, who was producing the album, was paid a short visit by Paul McCartney (see that entry here). This time Curtis is back with a follow up question specifically about Harry, that reads as follows:

I just watched Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?. It seems like Harry was buddies with all four Beatles in the seventies, including Paul McCartney dropping in on a Nilsson recording session for his album, Pussy Cats, and recording the lackluster A Toot and a Snore in ’74 with John, Harry, Stevie Wonder and others. How important was Harry Nilsson in the lives of each of the Beatles?

Thanks for writing in Curtis. First off I want to clear up for those that don’t know – A Toot and a Snore in ’74 is the title of a bootleg release that contains a recording from Harry’s Pussy Cats session which is the only known recording (mentioned above) in which John Lennon and Paul McCartney played together after the break-up of The Beatles. It was recorded at Burbank Studios in Los Angeles, CA and also includes Linda McCartney, Jesse Ed Davis, Stevie Wonder on keyboards and others. John was producing the Pussy Cats LP at the time and Paul and Linda McCartney dropped in on this first night of the session, which was March 28, 1974. Only a few rehearsals were done that included the rock and roll standards “Stand By Me” and “Lucille.”

 

Harry Nilsson and John Lennon

Harry Nilsson and John Lennon

 

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